In order to make room for newly-signed free agent outfielder Jonny Gomes on the roster, the A’s have designated prospect Adrian Cardenas for assignment. The A’s now have ten days to either trade or release Cardenas– unless he clears waivers, in which case the A’s can then send him to the minors.
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser tweeted that the A’s are hoping that Cardenas clears waivers so that they can hold on to him by assigning him to Sacramento, just as they recently did with Landon Powell.
Cardenas was considered a top infield prospect when he was acquired by the A’s, along with pitcher Josh Outman and outfielder Matt Spencer, from Philadelphia in exchange for Joe Blanton. The Miami native has a career minor league slash line of .303/.368/.413 and hit .314/.374/.418 in his first full season at AAA last year. But the A’s have had a hard time finding a position they feel is right for Cardenas.
In his first three seasons in the minors,Cardenas served exclusively as a middle infielder, playing all his games at second base and shortstop. In 2009, the A’s started getting him in a few games at third base. Then in the 2010 season, the A’s played him exclusively at second and third and eliminated shortstop from his repertoire altogether. Last season though, the A’s chose to have Cardenas start the majority of his games in left field, with most of the rest of his starts coming at third. Clearly, the A’s have been a bit uncertain about what exactly to do with Mr. Cardenas, whose defensive abilities Baseball America has referred to as “fringy.”
Cardenas is a solid contact hitter who hits for a good average but doesn’t draw an above-average number of walks and hasn’t hit more than five home runs in any of his last four seasons. Combined with his lack of defensive prowess, it’s obvious that the A’s brass have come to view him as a bit of a one-dimensional player. On the other hand, his ability to consistently put the bat on the ball and play a number of different positions (even if he doesn’t impress at any of them), could make him a suitable utility player in the future. And considering that he only turned 24 just a few months ago, one can assume he’s still got a few years of potential improvement ahead of him.
If he remains with the organization, then Cardenas should be the leading second base candidate for the Rivercats in 2012. If he ends up being traded or claimed on waivers though, then Wes Timmons probably steps into that role, with Eric Sogard or Adam Rosales (whichever one doesn’t make the major league roster) likely ending up at shortstop for Sacramento. Some had been hoping that Cardenas would be in the mix for the A’s utility infielder role this season, but now it looks like Cardenas fans will be lucky if he’s still in the organization come opening day of 2012!